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Suit filed against Marion County traffic court

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A suit filed today claims the Marion County traffic court judge is violating residents' constitutional rights by imposing additional fines on those who unsuccessfully challenge their tickets and closing proceedings to the public.

Plaintiffs Toshinao Ishii, Matthew Stone, and Adam Lenkowsky filed their suit in Marion Superior Court No. 11 against Marion Superior Judge William E. Young in Court No. 13 and the city of Indianapolis. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief through an order of mandamus prohibiting Judge Young to impose additional fines against defendants who fail to win their cases before the traffic and parking violations courts.

The suit, a class action complaint, also asks for a return of the fines received by the court, and to keep the traffic court from closing its courtroom to the public. The plaintiffs claim the imposition of additional fines has a chilling effect on the fair and equitable administration of justice.

According to the suit, when Judge Young took the bench in traffic court this year, he instituted a policy that defendants that come before his court and are found guilty would be fined up to an additional $500 and could even be assessed up to $10,000 plus court costs. The traffic courtroom is also open only to defendants. No one else, including parents of minors who have received tickets, can be present during procedings.

Ishii appeared in traffic court to contest a ticket; he lost and was fined an addition $400. Stone was cited for improperly wearing a seatbelt. He wears it differently because of a pacemaker and chose not to challenge the ticket because of Judge Young's policy. Lenkowsky asked to enter the courtroom as a member of the public and was denied entrance.

The suit also includes the newly opened parking citation court in Indianapolis, in which defendants who don't pay their ticket prior to a scheduled hearing may be assessed up to $2,500 in fines, according to the city of Indianapolis.

The threat of these fines violates the Eighth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, sections 12, 16 and 23 of the Indiana Constitution, according to the suit.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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